12 stay lean grocery shopping tips
The Spartans Crew— they’re hot, busy, and important people, hustling from meeting to meeting, trying to fit in workouts, and wondering what’s for dinner. Sometimes, they even have to sprint through the grocery store in sweaty gym clothes, too. But in any given aisle, they make small decisions, choosing this ingredient or that brand, for reasons you might not even realise. Those are the small steps that make a big difference in your diet.
Here are 12 grocery shopping tips from the Spartans Team. Check out what they’re putting in their grocery carts.
1. They always take a list.
Literally, every pro on this page writes out a grocery list. Even if we only have 5 minutes. Even if it’s on our phone. Even if we literally scribble, “some kind of salad.” Don’t sweat it! But do walk into the store with a plan.
2. They never shop hungry.
Again, total agreement. It’s old advice, but sound advice. Nothing good ever came from strolling the chip aisle hungry.
3. They fill half the cart with fruits and vegetables.
“You can always count on seeing colourful veggies in my basket,”
4. They check for sodium.
In the dry goods aisle, they’re spinning cans. “For anything that has a label, the first thing I look at is ingredients, “I’m big on comparing labels. For example, if I’m choosing canned beans or peanut butter, the one with the least amount of sodium winds up in my cart.”
5. They check for sugar.
“I always double check my condiments, sauces, and salad dressings,” “They’re common sources of hidden sugars and high fructose corn syrup. Also, even if a label claims ‘no sugar added,’ that doesn’t mean that food contains zero sugar.” Often i find it better to make my own dressings, sauces and condiments to be sure.
6. They don’t do flavoured dairy.
We heart Greek yogurt. But only plain, low-fat, never sweetened. “The dairy aisle can be confusing,” “Fruity yogurts, in particular. Yogurt starts as a nutrient-rich food, but too often it has a significant amount of added sugars, sometimes disguised as real fruit.”
7. They totally eat carbs.
Healthy carbs, that is. We put whole grains in their carts, such as whole-wheat bread, tortillas, rolled oats, brown rice, and more. They love sweet potatoes and bananas. We even eat whole-wheat pasta. Yes, pasta.
8. They’re not afraid of the freezer aisle.
“There’s more than just TV dinners, pizza, and ice cream behind those doors!” . “Frozen veggies, like peas, edamame, and spinach, are great to have on hand. Frozen fruit, like berries and mango, are perfect for smoothies. Frozen fish is another must-have. We just make sure it’s real fish, without butter, batter, or crumbs.”
9. They skip the chips, cookies, and soda.
well...most of the time..hey, no one is perfect right?
“For some people, that means salty snacks like chips and pretzels, for others who have a sweet tooth like me, that’s desserts. Save your treats for when you’re out of the house.”
10. They’re suspicious of misleading labels.
A cookie is still a cookie, even if it’s “gluten-free,” “natural,” and “organic.” “Don’t just look at the front of the package, pay more attention to what’s on the label on the back,” “The front is more promotional; the back shows you the proof.”
11. They’re not afraid to try something new,
whether that’s a weird vegetable or unfamiliar recipe. Tessa picks one new recipe a week, to shake up her routine. “Be adventurous. If you see a fruit or veggie that you aren’t familiar with, buy it and give it a try. These days, lots of markets offer info in stores or online, with tips and recipes for how to enjoy seasonal produce.”
12. They delegate to get it done.
“I don’t dread or enjoy grocery shopping,” “It’s a self-care task, like brushing my teeth. Often I make a shopping list but ask my husband to go. I also love delivery services, to keep things super easy.”
Most important: Make grocery shopping a habit. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a big shop once a week, or smaller stops every other day. “Smart grocery shopping is the single most important step to eating right. So prioritise getting it done, by yourself, with help, or with a delivery service.